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An Easy Holiday Feast with Rack of Pork
Wow holiday guests by serving a premium cut of meat that's effortless to prepare and full of flavor—an impressive rack of pork.
"Rack of pork is a new addition to the choices for a holiday entree," says Robin Kline, a registered dietitian and director of the Pork Information Bureau (PIB) for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). "As the centerpiece of the holiday meal, rack of pork will impress—and you won't spend all day in the kitchen."
Rack of pork is simply a bone-in pork loin roast with the chine bone (back bone) removed for easy carving, and the rib bones "Frenched"—extra meat removed for an elegant look. This cut is also used for crown roast of pork, which is two loins tied together to form a ring.
Preparing rack of pork is simple and doesn't require special equipment or slaving over the stove. For roasting, a moderate oven and a shallow pan are all the equipment needed.
"Roasting is a popular preparation technique because of its ease and elegance," says Rick Tramonto, chef-owner of Brasserie T in Northfield, Ill. "Roasting a rack of pork seals in juices and makes the most of the natural flavor of the meat."
Kline offers easy steps for preparing a roasted rack of pork: Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and roast in a 350 degree F. oven until internal temperature—measured by a meat thermometer—registers 155 degrees F.
For a festive presentation, Kline adds a bread crumb mixture seasoned with herbs, garlic and mustard.
Brief the Butcher—Place your order a week in advance to ensure your butcher has a rack for you. Most butchers will know that a rack of pork is a bone-in pork loin with the chine bone (back bone) removed. Ask the butcher to French the rib bones.
Size It Up—Count on one rib per person. A typical rack of pork will weigh about 4-5 pounds and have eight ribs, which should serve seven to eight.
Crown the Occasion—If you're serving a large group, convert a rack of pork into a crown roast. A crown roast is simply two racks tied together. Your butcher can prepare it for you, and include paper frills for a "finished" look.
Applaud the Oven—Roasting a rack of pork is easy. Place pork in shallow roasting pan with bones up. If tips of bones start to overly brown, cover with small pieces of foil.
Track Time—Like other fresh cuts of pork, rack of pork cooks quickly and is best when cooked to medium doneness. Plan on about 1-1/2 hours total roasting time.
Take Its Temp—To ensure tender and juicy pork, remove rack from oven when internal temperature—measured with a meat thermometer—reaches 155 degrees F. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Season pork with salt and pepper, as desired. Brush pork with 1/4 cup mustard. In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard with remaining ingredients. Press crumb mixture evenly over top of pork. Arrange rack of pork crumb side up in roasting pan. Roast for 1-1/2 hours, or until meat thermometer inserted into center of meaty part registers 155 degrees F. Let rest 10 minutes. Carve pork, cutting between ribs, and serve. Serves 8.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Provided by the Pork Information Bureau
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This page originally published as a FoodDay article (circa 1997).
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This page modified September 2007
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